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President Joe Biden test drives a Ford F-150 Lightning truck on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 (AP) President Joe Biden test drives a Ford F-150 Lightning truck on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 (AP)

President Joe Biden test drives a Ford F-150 Lightning truck on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 (AP)

Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles May 20, 2021

No, Biden didn’t fake his Ford F-150 Lightning test drive

If Your Time is short

  • President Joe Biden took a brief test drive in the new electric F-150 Lightning pick-up after delivering remarks on a proposal for American-made electric vehicles and touring a new Ford Motor plant in Michigan on May 18.

  • The Secret Service agent next to Biden was handling a camera on the dashboard, not a second steering wheel.

Facebook posts have some questioning if President Joe Biden was pretending to test drive the electric F-150 Lightning pick-up during his May 18 visit to one of Ford Motor Co.’s plants in Dearborn, Mich., to pitch his $174 billion electric vehicle proposal.

A Republican candidate for governor of California was among those who posted it, sharing two images. The top image is of a vehicle’s interior with dual steering wheels on the driver and passenger side. The bottom image is of Biden in the F-150. A red box edited onto the photo highlights what appears to be a hand on another steering wheel on the passenger side.

"Joe can’t even drive himself," the post’s caption reads. 

Other posts on Instagram and other websites also questioned whether Biden was really driving the vehicle. 

But that claim hits some major speedbumps. 

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Featured Fact-check

We compared the two photos in one Facebook post. The top image shows the interior of the self-driving Lexus LS 600hL, which debuted in September 2017. The bottom image is a screenshot of Biden’s test drive of the F-150, with the image frozen to look as if the person next to Biden, who is a U.S. Secret Service agent, has his hand on a steering wheel. But video and photos captured by journalists show that Biden is the only person who has a wheel, with the agent handling a camera that is on the dashboard. There is only one steering wheel in the vehicle.

The White House refuted the claim, as did Ford Motor Company spokesperson Melissa Miller.

"This rumor is badly misguided. There was only one steering wheel in the vehicle the president drove on Tuesday," said Miller. 

The Detroit Free Press reported that Biden’s test drive had been discussed as a possibility prior to his visit, but the Ford staff did not know it was going to happen until the very end of the day’s event.

Our ruling

Social media posts featuring two photos — one of Biden behind the wheel of a vehicle and another of a car interior with two steering wheels — claim that Biden didn’t drive himself during an electric vehicle test drive at Ford Motor Co. 

Both the White House and Ford Motor Co. refuted this claim, and photo and video evidence shows that there’s only one steering wheel in the truck, which Biden was operating. 

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

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No, Biden didn’t fake his Ford F-150 Lightning test drive

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